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Last update: 17-08-2004
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Parental responsibility - Ireland

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the legal term “parental responsibility” mean in practical terms? What are the rights and obligations of a holder of parental responsibility? 1.
2. As a general rule, who has the parental responsibility over a child? 2.
3.
3.a) If the parents are unable or unwilling to exercise parental responsibility over their children, can another person be appointed in their place? 3.a)
3.b) or a guardian may be appointed if the parents are deceased or incapable of taking care of their child? 3.b)
4. if the parents divorce or split up, how is the question of parental responsibility determined for the future? 4.
5. If the parents conclude an agreement on the question of parental responsibility, which formalities must be respected to make the agreement legally binding? 5.
6. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on the issue of parental responsibility, what are the alternative means for solving the conflict without going to court? 6.
7. If the parents go to court, what issues can the judge decides upon relating to the child? 7.
8. If the court decides that one parent shall have single custody of a child, does this mean that he or she can decide on all matters relating to the child without first consulting the other parent? 8.
9. If the court decides that the parents shall have joint custody of a child, what does this mean in practice? 9.
10. To which court or authority should I turn if I want to lodge an application on parental responsibility? Which formalities must be respected and which documents shall I attach to my application? 10.
11. Which procedure applies in these cases? Is an emergency procedure available? 11.
12. Can I obtain legal aid to cover the costs of the procedure? 12.
13. Is it possible to appeal against a decision on parental responsibility? 13.
14. In certain cases, it may be necessary to apply to a court or another authority to have a decision on parental responsibility enforced. Which procedure applies in such cases? 14.
15. What should I do to have a decision on parental responsibility that is issued by a court in another Member State recognised and enforced in Ireland? Which procedure applies in these cases? 15.
16. To which court should I turn in Ireland to oppose the recognition of a decision on parental responsibility issued by a court in another Member State? Which procedure applies in these cases? 16.
17. Which is the applicable law in a proceeding on parental responsibility where the child or the parties do not live in Ireland or are of different nationalities? 17.

 

1. What does the legal term “parental responsibility” mean in practical terms? What are the rights and obligations of a holder of parental responsibility?

The obligation to support, shelter, nurture and ensure the adequate education of the child.

2. As a general rule, who has the parental responsibility over a child?

(as a general rule exercised jointly by the parents as long as they live together, but may lay with the mother if the parents are not married)

The parent or guardian of the child. (The latter can be someone, who becomes 'de facto' in loco parentis to the child, or appointed by Court.)

3.

3.a) If the parents are unable or unwilling to exercise parental responsibility over their children, can another person be appointed in their place?

Yes. Generally local Health Board Authorities can issue Care Orders before the local District Court to have such children under 18 years put into care. In some instances Guardians can be appointed.

3.b) or a guardian may be appointed if the parents are deceased or incapable of taking care of their child?

Yes - Guardians can be appointed in the case of deceased parents.

4. if the parents divorce or split up, how is the question of parental responsibility determined for the future?

Yes to both - Going to Court , the Judge can make a Custody Order or joint Custody Order and Access Orders or rarely by Court application by State Authorities where parents or Guardians are unable or unwilling to perform their duties.

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5. If the parents conclude an agreement on the question of parental responsibility, which formalities must be respected to make the agreement legally binding?

Normally the custodial parent will have primary responsibility. But parents cannot contract out of their obligations, and when agreement breaks down the Court is the only means of establishing a legally enforceable Order.

6. If the parents cannot come to an agreement on the issue of parental responsibility, what are the alternative means for solving the conflict without going to court?

(e.g. mediation)

Yes, or through counselling.

7. If the parents go to court, what issues can the judge decides upon relating to the child?

Plus, all issues relating to the upbringing of the child including residence, access (visitation), support and education and health issues.

8. If the court decides that one parent shall have single custody of a child, does this mean that he or she can decide on all matters relating to the child without first consulting the other parent?

No, the non-custodial parent remains guardian of the child and has a right to be involved in all long-term decisions. The custodial parent will normally have a right to make day to day decisions without consultation.

9. If the court decides that the parents shall have joint custody of a child, what does this mean in practice?

This is usually only granted where the children are not a contentious issue and there is broad agreement on their upbringing education etc.

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10. To which court or authority should I turn if I want to lodge an application on parental responsibility? Which formalities must be respected and which documents shall I attach to my application?

Normally the District Court, unless Matrimonial proceedings (for Separation, Divorce or Nullity) have issued, in which case the Circuit or High Court will be the proper venue. (Attach Birth Certs.)

11. Which procedure applies in these cases? Is an emergency procedure available?

Yes. It is possible to apply to the Courts. 'Ex Parte' (without Notice) where the welfare of a child is at issue.

12. Can I obtain legal aid to cover the costs of the procedure?

Yes. Through the Civil Legal Aid Scheme - this scheme is means tested.

13. Is it possible to appeal against a decision on parental responsibility?

Yes. Always.

14. In certain cases, it may be necessary to apply to a court or another authority to have a decision on parental responsibility enforced. Which procedure applies in such cases?

The Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991 applies. Ireland is a full signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction and Luxembourg Convention on Recognition of Custody Orders.

15. What should I do to have a decision on parental responsibility that is issued by a court in another Member State recognised and enforced in Ireland? Which procedure applies in these cases?

The Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991. Sets out the procedure.

16. To which court should I turn in Ireland to oppose the recognition of a decision on parental responsibility issued by a court in another Member State? Which procedure applies in these cases?

The Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991. Sets out the procedure.

17. Which is the applicable law in a proceeding on parental responsibility where the child or the parties do not live in Ireland or are of different nationalities?

The Child Abduction and Enforcement of Custody Orders Act 1991. Sets out the procedure.

Further information

« Parental responsibility - General information | Ireland - General information »

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Last update: 17-08-2004

 
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